That’s the name of my new quilt. Strange, you say? Not really, if you know the history of its origin. Each block is an exchange – meaning it was made by another person in exchange for me making a block for them.
At the time it seemed reasonable to ask someone to make one of these blocks for me. In fact, I asked nine people to make blocks for me! But it was a huge imposition, now that I look back on it. The blocks are very difficult to do and getting them all to look the same is even harder.
I don’t know what I was thinking! Well, I was thinking I would get this quilt done. But really, I was asking a lot of everyone who got one of my blocks to make. They are beautiful, but all I could say was “I’m sorry!”
So that’s how this quilt got the name “Mea Culpa”. I love the quilt and am very grateful to everyone who contributed to it. But all I heard was complaining and moaning from all the participants, so all I kept saying was “I’m so sorry!”
1 – Love Unconditionally. Let them know they are the light of your life. Always end the conversation with “I love you”. Tell them often how much they mean to you.
2 – Cheer them on. Not just at soccer or baseball games, but always tell them they can do it. Give them encouragement. Always be on their side and help them to believe in themselves.
3 – Laugh. See the funny side of life. Tell jokes and laugh at their jokes. Use humor to heal the heart.
4 – Hug. Make physical contact when appropriate. Give a good hug and kiss. Sit close and snuggle. Hold hands when walking.
5 – Move as much as you can. Keep active and do it with the grandkids. Walk. Ride bikes. Swim. Hike. Camp. Go fishing. Garden. Dance. Anything done with a child can be fun!
6 – Enjoy life. Don’t be a hermit. Be active in the world. See friends. Go to movies and plays. Listen to music. Go to the library. Join a club. Be active in church. Meet your neighbors.
7 – Be positive. Keep a good attitude. Don’t complain. Change the things you don’t like and adjust to the things you can’t change. Be an optimist.
8 – Have a hobby. Keep busy. Have a passion and an interest. It gives you something to talk about!
9 – Forgive. Set a good example and let go of the wrongs done to you. Learn to say “I’m sorry” also.
10 – Always greet them with a smile. Make your grandchildren feel as though you have been waiting for only them. Always always greet with a smile. Tell them how glad you are to see them.
Another September, another week at Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield, Kansas. What a delightful, wonderful way to get saturated in bluegrass, folk, country, gospel, celtic and every other kind of acoustic music you can imagine. Camping in the 5th wheel at the Fair Grounds and listening to instrumental and vocal tunes all day is my kind of vacation.
Gramps and I have been coming for about five years now and love it more each time we are here. The music comes from all parts of the world, yet needs no translation. We understand each rhythm and beat. It’s truly magical, even if we don’t know the words.
Music is like that – it speaks to each heart if its own language. Even children and infants understand the seeming foreign tongue of a lyrical tune they have never heard before. People who can’t understand each other’s spoken language, can read and share music, providing a bridge across every barrier.
Instruments are played, songs are sung, toes are tapped and fingers are snapped. It’s the beginnings of dance and we all have it in us – the response to music.
Simple words and notes can make us cry or laugh, pause or become excited. They can make us feel every emotion or stun us as though we have been slapped. They can stir rebellion or quiet the raging soul. Nothing affects us quite like music.
Music can do things like nothing else in the world. It can change a child’s brain who learns to play an instrument. It can enrich a child’s life who sings in a chorus. It can enlarge a child’s world who plays in an orchestra or band. Nothing affects a child the way music does.
Gramps and I have done it all – we have sung in choirs, played instruments, taught songs to our children and grandchildren, provided music lessons to younger family members and probably sung “Happy Birthday” at least once to everyone we know.
Walnut Valley Festival is one of the places we visit to learn, understand and share that mystical language we call music.
A good friend of mine just became a grandmother for the first time. She is so excited and I’m so excited for her! Her comment the very first day was, “I love being a grandmother!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I know exactly how she feels. I remember the very first time I saw my first grandchild, newly born, sort of ugly really, but the most beautiful thing I had seen since the birth of my own children. I was instantly in love. There was a bond at that second that has remained throughout the years.
I knew in one second I was not only in love with that baby but I was in love with being a grandparent. How is that even possible after so short a time? I’m not sure how, but I know it is a true, sure thing.
I knew I would not only be willing to die to protect him, but I would be willing to do almost anything to keep him happy, strong, engaged, learning, laughing and healthy. And I knew all this in an instant.
It was as if I could see all the future times of playing with him, talking with him, sharing meals with him, laughing with him, walking with him in that one moment. Our lives together were very clear to me even though he was still only minutes old, we hadn’t touched and I had just seen him being whisked away to be measured and weighed.
In one moment I fell in love for ever. A unique love affair to be sure. A love that was very one-sided in the beginning, but still very satisfying. What he gave in return may not have been love, but it spoke to the depths of my heart.
Now, of course, it is a very mutual love. We speak it, we show it, we are aware of it. In the beginning, he absorbed all the love he could get as if it were due him, which I felt it was. As his grandmother, I felt obligated and most willing to give him everything in the world I thought was good for him, starting with my unconditional devotion.
As the years passed, I have had the same reaction with every grandchild that has come into my life – instant love, instant unconditional caring and devotion for life.
How I wish every child came into this world with a guarantee of instantaneous love.
How I wish every grandparent felt love and exaltation at the birth of every grandchild, and would know instantly how wonderful that child was.
How I wish every grandparent and grandchild had an unbreakable, life-long, love relationship they could both rely upon and cherish.
How I wish . . . . .